The question about whether finding the answer to an assignment online is cheating has come up on the forums for the Chronicle Of Higher Education.
The answers given clearly believe that this is a form of cheating, although there are some interesting observations put forward, including relating this problem to contract cheating.
One student suggests that they did just this, because they needed help with a problem, but acknowledged this to their instructor and received full marks.
Of more concern is that assignments are still being set where the answer can be easily found online. This is encouraging students to cheat.
Where a standard assignment is used, it makes it very difficult to monitor any contract cheating, as the same assignment will likely be traceable back to many different institutions. Some elements of uniqueness are needed.
Whilst it is clear that academics often expect the best from their students, continued work on designing assessments that make both plagiarism and contract cheating difficult is necessary.